A blue ribbon commission studying reform of California’s criminal justice system urged mandating electronic recording of all jailhouse interrogations, the Los Angeles Times reports. If an officer fails to make an audiotape, the law should require that juries be told to view the defendant’s statement with caution, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice said.
The commission urged law enforcement agencies to videotape all custodial interrogations of felony suspects, but did not recommend making it a requirement because the cost would be prohibitive, said Gerald Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and commission executive director. The panel recommended that the legislature give grants to police agencies that want to implement videotaping. The report said false confessions have been identified as the second most frequent cause of wrongful convictions. It emphasized that taped interrogations provided benefits to law enforcement, including protection against misconduct claims.